Everything does not, in fact, look better in a Biggie jersey.
Last night, the Brooklyn Nets started the game like zombies, cold, and nearly comatose. Tonight against the Los Angeles Clippers, they started like a group of college kids pretending to care during their first semester on campus: They gave 110%, they moved fast, and they produced mixed results.
The offensive performance put on from both teams was incredible, to be perfectly frank. Together, the Nets and Clippers scored 69 points in the first quarter — nice! If that scoring rate had continued, this game would have ended with 276 points scored. Luckily, the coaches stepped in and gently reminded the players that stout defense can be cool too.
In complete honesty, the defensive effort wasn’t that bad. It was a combination of talented players hitting difficult shots and some key individual lapses in focus on the other side of the ball. Simple, right?
One player who didn’t lose their focus, though, was Jarrett Allen. Not only did he lead the team in scoring with 17 in the first half, but he also grabbed five offensive rebounds, which helped the Nets secure a 29-16 total rebound advantage going into the break. He also somehow threw -this- down?
East Coast > West Coast
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) November 17, 2018
Once the Nets secured their early lead, the rest of the game became a highly-competitive contest of whack-a-mole. Every time the Clippers would poke their heads out and start to go on a run, Allen would slam a hammer on their heads with a vicious fro-down.
That was up until Allen started the fourth quarter on the bench.
There was nobody to step up and stop the Clippers when they went a 7-0 run to tie the game and then eventually take their first lead of the night. Once D’Angelo Russell and Allen were subbed back in, the two teams went back and forth until the Clippers pulled away in the last few minutes of play.
The final quarter of this game was far too reminiscent of the Nets team last year who struggled to close games and went 1-5 in overtime situations. Sadly, without LeVert, this may become the norm instead of an anomaly.
Jarrett Allen Center
24 PTS, 8-13 FG, 5 OREB, 11 REB, 2 AST, 1 BLK, 1 TO
Jarrett Allen sure looked good in Coogi.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) November 18, 2018
Last night, Allen showed us just how far he has come since his rookie year. Tonight, he gave us a tantalizing taste of how far he can still go. His post moves and footwork around the basket are impeccable and he can trip up even the most seasoned defenders. He effectively crashes the glass, not through pure strength but with strong body control and smart positioning.
Allen’s performance is one positive that Nets’ fans can take away from this disappointing loss.
Allen Crabbe Shooting Guard
15 PTS, 5-11 FG, 3-6 3PT, 4 REB, 1 AST, 0 TO
It was easy to tell that this game was going to be special when Allen Crabbe opened it up with back-to-back threes.
He then proceeded to miss his next four shots. Unfortunately, has that not been the story of Crabbe so far this season? Tonight, however, he finally started to show signs that, much like Stella, he is getting his groove back.
D’Angelo Russell Point Guard
23 PTS, 9-16 FG, 5-7 3PT, 3 REB, 10 AST, 2 STL, 1 BLK, 1 TO
ANNOUNCEMENT: D’Angelo Russell has strung together two very impressive performances in a row.
The clearest sign that he was playing at a high-level was head coach Kenny Atkinson being willing to play him in a tight fourth quarter situation. The offense was rolling under Russell, finding the right balance of forcing his own shots and creating for teammates. If only we were able to see him unleashed in the last few minutes, maybe this game wouldn’t have been lost.
Joe Harris Shooting Guard
19 PTS, 7-11 FG, 2-3 3PT, 1 REB, 4 AST, 1 STL, 0 TO
Joe Harris is possibly the most desirable player on this roster.
There isn’t a single team in the league who would say no to a player as consistently effective as Lumber Joe. While his three-point shot is falling at an amazing clip — over 50% coming into this game — even when it isn’t he still finds a way to make his impact felt on the offense.
The fact that he does this all on such a manageable contract is the cherry on top.
Spencer Dinwiddie Point Guard
11 PTS, 3-16 FG, 1-6 3PT, 4 REB, 7 AST, 4 TO
Spencer Dinwiddie had a rough showing tonight.
It wasn’t all that bad until the start of the fourth quarter, however. Dinwiddie was the ballhandler when the Clippers went on their run to tie the game. Even after D’Angelo Russell was subbed in, Dinwiddie continued to run much of the offense, driving to the rim and throwing up wild shots in an attempt to draw fouls. This isn’t an inherently bad strategy, but after the referees showed that they weren’t going to be giving him those calls, he should have tried something else.
Instead, many of the Nets’ final possessions were wasted on these types of plays.